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14er Fun's Camera Reviews and Recommendations

Cameras? Are cameras hiking/climbing/skiing gear? You bet they are!! After all, the primary reasons we engage in these activities are fun and enjoyment. Photos and video preserve that fun and enjoyment and allow for sharing with family and friends. For many of our first 14er hikes, we did not own a camera. After purchasing a compact, all weather film camera, we would still forget to bring it along on many trips. I can’t tell you how much I regret not having photos from those adventures. Photographic records are an essential part of any adventure. You don’t have to be a professional photographer or own expensive equipment. Many of the pictures on this site were taken with a tiny 5 megapixel digital “point-and-shoot”. You might find however, that you have a natural talent or an eye for good shots and photography might become another serious hobby. Digital editing with photo enhancement software can also become quite consuming. Indeed, backcountry travel takes us to very photogenic locations. We should at the very least, capture, preserve and share our adventures.

Here we’ll take a look at 2 different types of cameras, photo editing software and digital video (camcorders). We'll focus on those most likely to be useful for hikers, skiers and climbers.

Compact "point and shoot" digital cameras

Compact Digital Cameras have become so small, there’s no excuse not to carry one. Check out the value in the Olympus Stylus FE-240 7MP Digital Camera with Digital Image Stabilized 5x Optical Zoom. We've been shooting with campact Olympus cameras for many years and they've never dissapointed. 5x optical zoom in such a compact package will get that awesome shot.

Canon offers 6x optical zoom and 7MP in their PowerShot A710. This one is high tech! The image stabilizer feature keeps the image in focus even if you are fighting gusty winds on an exposed ridgeline. The options allow for efficient use by both beginners and experts. The auto mode makes it a piece of cake for beginners to get good shots and sets it apart from other "point and shoots".

10x zoom and unsurpassed vibration reduction technology makes the Nikon Coolpix S10 6MP Digital Camera one to check out. Such a powerful zoom and it fits in your pocket. Compact digitals sure have come a long way. Excellent battery life, temperature range, ease of use, professional features. This is the one they're raving about...you've got to check it out!

Digital SLRs

If more serious in your photography pursuits, interested in more professional features or for any reason looking for a higher end digital camera, then this is your category. These will cost you more but with a digital SLR camera, you're basically shooting with what the pros use. Take the time to learn the capabilities of your digital SLR and you'll surprise yourself with the end result. The Olympus Evolt E500 8MP Digital SLR is an excellent value and good way to break into digital SLR cameras. You can choose from various lens options and start going after those National Geographic shots.

Canon has long set the standard for digital SLRs. Their latest entry level camera in this category is the Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR Camera. The now legendary 7 point autofocus system, image capture at up to 3 frames per second, Canon's powerful, state-of-the-art DIGIC II SLR imaging engine and, of course the EOS Digital Solutions software all combine to make this one awesome camera. Get out there and start shooting like a pro!

10.2 Megapixels? 11 area autofocus? Approximate 0.18 second power-up time? 3 frames per second for up to 100 pictures? Yes Indeed! You've got to check out the Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera. An extensive ISO range for all light conditions, a broad range of shutter speeds, a "multiple exposure" feature, in-camera image editing functions...the list goes on and on. This is the camera for those who will settle for nothing short of the best!!

Photo editing software

All the pros do it...so can you. Take the time to learn to sharpen, crop, zoom, adjust white balance, add special effects, etc. The end results will dazzle you and anyone who sees your pictures. Ulead Photoimpact 12 is an inexpensive yet highly functional application which will have you touching up your pics in no time. Many of the photos on this site were edited with Photoimpact's predecessor Photo Express. Ulead offers an impressive array of features at a very reasonable price.

Want to use what the pros use? Adobe Photoshop CS2 (Adobe Photoshop CS2, Adobe Photoshop CS2 Upgrade or Adobe Creative Suite CS2 Standard (Mac)) is the photo editing software of choice of most professionals. Vanishing Point technology, Smart Objects, multi-image RAW file processing all combine to make this the most feature rich package available. If you want to take advantage of everything it offers, be prepared to spend a lot of time in front of your computer. More importantly, be prepared to unleash your creative inner self and create dazzling (even mind boggling) results. This rules!

Compact Digital Video

Still shots are great, but you capture the action with mini dv camcorders. Your footage will include the sound of the ski descent or the windy summit ridge. You can edit in other sound (music, narration, etc.) as well as add title screens and other visual effects. Be careful...this can take over and become a hobby all in itself. Canon's ZR500 MiniDV Camcorder offers 24x optical zoom with "Smooth Zoom" technology, a widescreen 2.7 inch display and an Auto-Exposure mode for best results in difficult lighting. We've shot a lot of mountain footage with a Canon miniDV camcorder and never been dissapointed.

JVC's GR-D350 MiniDV Camcorder offers 32x optical zoom, an "Illumi-Light" mode which illuminates dark scenes, a "Live Slow" mode which records in slow motion but with real-time audio and one touch switching between auto and manual operation. Innovative features and a high customer satisfaction rate combine to make this one definitely worth looking into.

Sony offers a lot of "bang for the buck" in a compact package with its DCR-HC26 MiniDV Digital Handycam. The Super SteadyShot picture stabilization and Advanced HAD CCD imager features combine to minimize distortion and provide stunning clarity. The professional quality Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lenses reduce glare and increase contrast, resulting in brilliant, vivid color images. Sony's NightShot Infrared System allows you to shoot in low light and still capture natural looking video. This one is state-of-the-art!

Here is the quick list:

            Olympus Stylus FE-240 7MP Digital Camera  -  5x optical zoom, image stabilization
            PowerShot A710  -  6x optical zoom, 7 mega pixels, image stabilizer, auto mode
            Nikon Coolpix S10 6MP Digital Camera  -  10x optical zoom, vibration reduction, long battery life

            Olympus Evolt E500 8MP Digital SLR  -  excellent value, variety of lens options
            Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR Camera  -  7 point auto-focus, EOS software
            Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera  -  11 area auto-focus, 3 frames per second for 100 pics

            Ulead Photoimpact 12  -  inexpensive, easy to use, feature rich
            Adobe Photoshop CS2  - most technical, what the pros use, lots to learn, full PC version
            Adobe Photoshop CS2 Upgrade  - PC upgrade from version 5.5
            Adobe Creative Suite CS2 Standard (Mac)  - full Mac suite

            ZR500 MiniDV Camcorder  -  24x optical "Smooth Zoom", widescreen 2.7 inch display
            JVC GR-D350 MiniDV Camcorder  - 32x optical zoom, "Illumi-Light" mode, "Live Slow" mode
            Sony DCR-HC26 MiniDV Digital Handycam  - Advanced HAD CCD imager, Zeiss Vario-Tessar lenses

For additional information or if you're looking to consult with a professional photographer for any reason, click here

Happy Shooting!!

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